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 Draft Scout College Football Player News: Virginia Tech
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  SEPT 27 ACC CO-SPECIALIST OF THE WEEK: Tayvion Robinson, Virginia Tech, So., KR, Virginia Beach, Va.,...Scored his first career TD on a 60-yard punt return in the second quarter of Saturday's 21-10 win over Richmond ... Averaged 22 yards per punt return on the day ... Registered an additional 76 yards on six receptions and finished the day with 140 all-purpose yards. - Atlantic Coast Conference Football

(DS#56 WR) rSo/2024 WR Tayvion RobinsonVirginia Tech
News Source: Atlantic Coast Conference Football
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  Braxton Burmeister threw for 212 yards and a touchdown to lead Virginia Tech to a 21-10 victory over Richmond on Saturday. Tayvion Robinson added a 60-yard punt return for a score for the Hokies (3-1), who struggled against a Richmond team that played nearly the entire game without starting quarterback Joe Mancuso (injured hand). Burmeister threw a 10-yard touchdown pass to Tre Turner on the opening possession of the game to cap a 65-yard drive - the Hokies' best of the game. An Aaron Banks interception led to Richmond's only touchdown, with Savon Smith scoring on a 16-yard run to tie the game in the second quarter. Robinson's touchdown and a 1-yard score by backup quarterback Connor Blumrick were enough for Virginia Tech to register the win. Turner caught six passes for 102 yards for the Hokies, who amassed just 318 yards. Beau English II completed 15 of 23 for just 77 yards to lead Richmond, which finished with only 237 yards. - Virginia Tech/AP College Football

(DS#23 QB) rSr/2022 QB Braxton BurmeisterVirginia Tech
News Source: Virginia Tech/AP College Football
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  Raheem Blackshear rushed for two touchdowns to lead No. 19 Virginia Tech to a 35-14 victory over Middle Tennessee on Saturday after a slow start. The Hokies (2-0, 2-0 ACC) scored on their first three possessions of the second half, including back-to-back TDs by Blackshear, in a game they led 14-7 at halftime. Virginia Tech broke open the game when Jalen Holston scored on a 29-yard, third-quarter run to take a 21-7 lead. Blackshear, who rushed for 58 yards, then scored on runs of 6 yards and 1 yard on ensuing possessions to help the Hokies build a 35-7 cushion. "At halftime, it was obviously a tight ball game. I didn't feel like we were shocked it was close," Virginia Tech coach Justin Fuente said. "I don't know that we're the team that can just blow the doors off people. That's just not how we're built right now. "I didn't sense any panic or shock. That's what happens with teams that are overconfident or arrogant. They're shocked that the other team wants to play. We knew what we were getting into, so there was no shock, no panic. Those guys were ready to go back out there and play." Braxton Burmeister went 14 of 24 for 142 yards and a score for Virginia Tech, which finished with 375 yards. Bailey Hockman threw 19 of 32 for 207 yards and a score to lead the Blue Raiders (1-1, 0-1 CUSA), who had 349 yards. - Virginia Tech/AP College Football

(DS#19 RB) rSr/2022 RB Raheem BlackshearVirginia Tech
News Source: Virginia Tech/AP College Football
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  SEPT 6 ACC SEPT 6 ACC DEFENSIVE BACK OF THE WEEK: Chamarri Conner, Virginia Tech, Jr., CB, Jacksonville, Fla.,...Led the Hokies' defense with eight tackles in Friday night's 17-10 victory over No. 10 North Carolina ... Of his eight stops, six were solo efforts ... Wore legendary coach Frank Beamer's No. 25 jersey and recorded an interception in the fourth quarter to seal the game ... Interception was the fourth of his career. - ACC Football

(DS#18 CB) Sr/2022 CB Chamarri ConnerVirginia Tech
News Source: ACC Football
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  08/29/21 - James MitchellrSr/2023, Virginia Tech, 6-3, 255 (DS#9 TE) + More +

  Virginia Tech's 2021 captains aren't lacking experience. The Hokies picked tight end James Mitchell, linebacker Dax Hollifield, safety Chamarri Conner, offensive lineman Brock Hoffman and offensive lineman Tyrell Smith to be captains this fall. Smith is a notable selection as a rare three-time captain. He was voted captain by his teammates in 2019. The veteran lineman initially planned to be a graduate assistant in the weight room this season, but reversed course after spring camp.

He's the only player remaining on the roster who signed with Tech during coach Frank Beamer's tenure. He's played in 54 games during his career and played in every game for Tech from 2016-18. Smith's co-captains last year were safety Divine Deablo, defensive tackle Jarrod Hewitt and linebacker Rayshard Ashby. This year his co-captains all have prominent places on the depth chart as well. Mitchell briefly flirted with the idea of entering the NFL Draft, but decided to come back for another season. As the team's starting tight end last year, he had 26 catches for 435 yards with four touchdowns. - Roanoke Times


(DS#9 TE) rSr/2023 TE James MitchellVirginia Tech
News Source: Roanoke Times
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  Virginia Tech's Dax Hollifield looks like a middle linebacker, talks like a middle linebacker, thinks like a middle linebacker and competes like a middle linebacker. Good news for him, then: He's now actually a middle linebacker. "I've been waiting for this opportunity for the past three seasons," Hollifield said. "I'm finally at the position I was recruited to play." Now, don't misunderstand. Happiness hasn't been a problem for this guy in the past. As long as you slap a jersey and a helmet on him and let him run around, Hollifield is going to be happy. That would apply if he were fielding punts, serving as a long snapper or slugging it out on the offensive line.

But you watch the way he gets in that crouch and scans the opposing backfield, so eager to work downhill, and it's obvious that middle linebacker (or, as the Hokies call it, the "Mike" position) is where he belongs. He's spent most of the past three seasons playing outside linebacker ("Will") while Rayshard Ashby held down the Mike spot. "They're pretty similar positions, but the biggest difference is the Will linebacker position, they're going to be more in space," said Tech linebackers coach Jack Tyler, who started at the Mike spot during his own playing days in Blacksburg. "Dax's skill set is more tailored toward being in the box and having it be more of a phone booth. "I'm not saying he's not athletic enough to go play in space. Obviously he was; he did it the last couple years. But his skill set is better for in-the-box type of plays." - Roanoke Times


(DS#34 ILB) Sr/2022 ILB Dax HollifieldVirginia Tech
News Source: Roanoke Times
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  Virginia Tech defensive lineman Desmond Mamudi (knee), linebacker Will Johnson (shoulder) and walk-on receiver William Kakavitsas (knee) are out for the season, according to sources with knowledge of the situation. Mamudi and Johnson, who were both three-star signees out of the 2021 signing class, recently each had surgery. The injury to Mamudi leaves the Hokies with only four scholarship defensive tackles going into the fall. He was the team's lone signee at defensive tackle in the last recruiting cycle. The next options on the line are likely walk-on tackles Maxx Philpott and Nigel Simmons as third-team defensive lineman. Kakavitsas had put himself in position to earn some reps this fall at receiver. The 6-foot-1, 190-pounder out of Providence High School is a third-year player. He redshirted in 2019 and played in nine games on special teams last fall. - Roanoke Times

(DS#999 DT) Fr/2025 DT Desmond MamudiVirginia Tech
News Source: Roanoke Times
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  08/20/21 - Kaleb SmithrJr/2023, Virginia Tech, 6-2, 215 (DS#999 WR) + More +

  Virginia Tech receiver Kaleb Smith knew what the injury was before the trainers got to him. Smith's arm got tangled up when he tried to strip the ball from Pittsburgh corner Jason Pinnock coming out of halftime in a late-season matchup between the ACC rivals. After Pinnock picked off Hendon Hooker down the Hokies' sideline, he avoided a couple would-be tacklers and bounced the ball back toward midfield. Smith ran a deep route and was 20 yards behind the play, but he never considered giving up on the play. "He had a wide-open lane to a touchdown," Smith said at Virginia Tech's media day. "I turned on the jets and tried to strip the ball, and my arm got stuck in there. It popped out."

The arm hung down and Smith said it was completely numb until the training staff popped it back in. It was the same feeling Smith had when he tore his labrum as a senior at Louisa County. "I tore the back of the labrum as a senior, this time it tore the front," Smith said, indicating the spots on his left shoulder. Smith knew what was next - surgery and an extended rehab period that would keep him sidelined for four to eight months. He was out five and a half months this time around. "I was cleared on May 5," Smith said, with a smile. "That date with all the therapy you go through, you got it circled on the calendar." - Roanoke Times


(DS#999 WR) rJr/2023 WR Kaleb SmithVirginia Tech
News Source: Roanoke Times
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  Virginia Tech coach Justin Fuente announced on Thursday that defensive end Emmanuel Belmar is going to medically retire. Belmar was trying to come back from a concussion he suffered last October. The medical waiver ends Belmar's football career while allowing him to keep his scholarship. "I feel for Emmanuel, because he was a very hard-nosed, tough football player for us for several years. He just couldn't overcome the injury part," Virginia Tech coach Justin Fuente said. "...We've encouraged him to be around as much as he'd like, as much as emotionally he can handle, because he has been an instrumental part of our team and our culture and our work ethic." He opened fall camp with the team, but the coaching staff was taking a cautious approach with the defender since he hadn't wasn't clear for contact at all during the spring. Belmar met with his family and the team's medical staff in recent days before coming to the decision. - Roanoke Times

(DS#999 DE) rSr/2022 DE Emmanuel BelmarVirginia Tech
News Source: Roanoke Times
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  08/08/21 - Changa HodgerSr/2022, Virginia Tech, 6-0, 199 (DS#94 WR) + More +

  Fuente said it would be a long shot for wide receiver Changa Hodge to return this season. Hodge suffered a torn ACL midway through spring camp, but the Villanova transfer was as engaged as any of his medically cleared teammates. Hodge followed the receivers group around as if he was still practicing. He mimicked the drills off to the side, talked with his teammates about technique and intently watched the coaches as they critiqued players during various drills. The 6-foot-1, 199-pound sixth-year senior certainly hasn't given up on the season, and could be an asset for Tech as it tries to bring along a large group of young receivers. - Roanoke Times

(DS#94 WR) rSr/2022 WR Changa HodgeVirginia Tech
News Source: Roanoke Times
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  Virginia Tech coach Justin Fuente has the utmost confidence in Braxton Burmeister. That's been his message this summer, and one he returned to Wednesday at the team's media day when he marveled at the quarterback's "elite" athleticism. "He looks like the people I watch on television at the Olympics," Fuente said. "He's ripped to shreds, he's got veins in his abs, he jumps out of the gym, he's strong ... he can do everything an elite athlete can do." Burmeister opened camp Thursday as Tech's QB1, a position he's had throughout the entire offseason. It marks the first time since 2014 that Fuente is opening fall camp without a competition for the starting job.

Fuente was patrolling the sidelines for Memphis in 2014 and his quarterback at the time was Paxton Lynch. Lynch was only the second freshman quarterback in program history to throw for more than 2,000 yards after winning the job. There were some growing pains - the 2013 team went 3-9 while averaging 16.5 points per game - but Lynch was the unquestioned starter going forward, which paid dividends. - Roanoke Times


(DS#23 QB) rSr/2022 QB Braxton BurmeisterVirginia Tech
News Source: Roanoke Times
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  08/03/21 - Jaden PayouterSo/2024, Virginia Tech, 6-1, 210 (DS#43 WR) + More +

  Payoute just needs to make it through fall camp unscathed. The receiver was on track to be a key contributor last year before he suffered a season-ending leg injury at the end of fall camp. He practiced once in the spring before the training staff decided Payoute should have a follow-up procedure in hopes he could put the injury completely behind him.

Quarterback Braxton Burmeister said Payoute is back to his old self in the player-led workouts this summer. Burmeister also made it clear that Payoute is about as gifted of an athlete as there is, a common opinion amongst the team. They still marvel at the video posted to social media of him leaping from a standing position into the bed of a pickup truck. Tech desperately needs more production out of receivers not named Tre Turner and Tayvion Robinson, and Payoute is the one to watch. - Roanoke Times


(DS#43 WR) rSo/2024 WR Jaden PayouteVirginia Tech
News Source: Roanoke Times
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  07/30/21 - Amare BarnorSr/2022, Virginia Tech, 6-5, 245 (DS#5 DE) + More +

  Virginia Tech landed a pair of players on the 2021 All-Atlantic Coast Conference preseason football team that was announced on Tuesday morning as voted on by 147 media members. Tech starting tight end James Mitchell (77 votes) and defensive end Amare Barno (63 votes) were selected. Barno's selection comes on the heels of his breakout 2020 season. He led the power five with 16 tackles of loss and was sixth in the league with 6.5 sacks. He earned All-ACC honorable mention honors last season. The 6-foot-6, 235-pounder switched from linebacker over to defensive end - a position he had never played in his career - right before fall camp, and has quickly established himself as Tech's top playmaker. - Roanoke Times

(DS#5 DE) rSr/2022 DE Amare BarnoVirginia Tech
News Source: Roanoke Times
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  07/29/21 - James MitchellrSr/2023, Virginia Tech, 6-3, 255 (DS#9 TE) + More +

  Virginia Tech senior tight end James Mitchell and junior defensive end Amare Barno and Virginia junior linebacker Nick Jackson were all named to the ACC's preseason all-conference football team, the league announced Tuesday. The 6-foot-3, 242-pound Mitchell, who is on the Mackey Award watch list as one of the nation's top tight ends, has 47 career receptions for 796 yards in 36 games for the Hokies. He's caught six touchdown passes, including a team-high four last season, and has rushed for five more scores.

A highly-regarded NFL prospect, Mitchell opted to return to Tech for his senior season. Since then, he's worked to improve his route-running and added about 10 pounds of muscle, he said, without sacrificing speed. "I'm running well. I'm as strong as I've ever been," said Mitchell. "That was a huge part of me coming back, was continuing to get stronger. I play down there in the trenches. Continue to be able to block those guys on the line." - Richmond Times-Dispatch


(DS#9 TE) rSr/2023 TE James MitchellVirginia Tech
News Source: Richmond Times-Dispatch
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  07/28/21 - Amare BarnorSr/2022, Virginia Tech, 6-5, 245 (DS#5 DE) + More +

  The ACC released the conference's 2021 preseason poll on Monday morning with Virginia Tech picked by reporters to finish third in the Coastal Division. Tech closed out last season with a 33-15 win over Virginia in the team's season finale to go 5-6 (5-5 ACC) on the season after players elected not to accept a potential bowl bid. It was the first time since 1992 the program finished the season with a losing record. UVa, meanwhile, is picked to finish fifth in the Coastal Division. The Cavaliers finished 5-5 (4-5 ACC) in the 2020 season. Clemson received 125 of the 147 total votes to win the ACC title. The Tigers made the College Football Playoff last season for a sixth straight year going 10-2. It was the fourth straight year they were picked to win the ACC title in the media preseason poll. - Roanoke Times

(DS#5 DE) rSr/2022 DE Amare BarnoVirginia Tech
News Source: Roanoke Times
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